Nautilus

Is Multilingual Rap Eroding Canada’s French Language?

Recently a Quebec arts foundation required the Francophone rap group Dead Obies to give back an $18,000 grant they’d been awarded to record their newest album. The problem? A word count determined that the group had stirred too much English into their distinctive multilingual lyrics, falling short of the rule that 70 percent of the content be in French. Here’s an example from the first track of their album Gesamtkunswerk:

Dough to get
I got more shows to rip
Dead-O on the road again, c’est mon tour de get
Sous le spotlight, viens donc voir le dopest set
We just gettin’ started et pis t’es captivated
Looking at me now, thinking: «How’d he made it?»
J’suis tellement plus about being felt que famous
Que même moi, j’sais plus what the hell my name is

Do the multilingual lyrics from Dead Obies signal the downfall of French in Canada?Dead Obies

Dead Obies is used to catching flak for their language mixing. In 2014, they were excoriated by several French-language journalists for

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus6 min read
Why I Traveled the World Hunting for Mutant Bugs: A researcher who works through painting tells her story.
When Chernobyl happened, I knew it was time for me to act. Nineteen years earlier, I had first drawn malformed and mutated flies while working in the zoological department at the University of Zurich as a scientific illustrator. Zoologists had fed po
Nautilus5 min read
Why Working-Class New Yorkers Drop Their “R’s”
In George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, professor Henry Higgins says: “You can spot an Irishman or a Yorkshireman by his brogue. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.” British
Nautilus9 min read
Let’s Play War: Could war games replace the real thing?
In the spring of 1964, as fighting escalated in Vietnam, several dozen Americans gathered to play a game. They were some of the most powerful men in Washington: the director of Central Intelligence, the Army chief of staff, the national security advi